[Photo: Ministry of Defense. Picture for illustrative purposes and not related to today’s incident.]
Taiwan’s Air Force scrambled F-16 fighter jets to monitor a PLA Xian H-6 bomber aircraft as it approached Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone south of Point Eluanbi this morning. The Air Force stressed that there was no conflict between the two sides.
However, civilian radio operators picked up a verbal exchange between the Chinese and Taiwanese pilots. When the Taiwanese fighter pilot requested the bomber pilot leave the air-zone, the PLA pilot responded by telling the fighter to leave immediately, or suffer the consequences.
Apple Daily published the audio recording of the exchange. As the fighter pilots approached the bomber, the Chinese pilot broadcast: “I am the People’s Liberation Army, you are already seriously threatening my air safety. Please depart immediately. Please depart immediately. Otherwise, you are responsible for all consequences.”
The Taiwan fighter pilot responded by informing the PLA pilot that he was approaching the Taiwan Air Identification Zone. The PLA pilot replied: “I am the People’s Liberation Army, flying normally, maintain a safe distance.”
The exchange occurred approximately 580 km south of Point Eluanbi at an altitude of 6,700 meters.